Infidel-Spirit of Orr Records CD 2004

Infidel starts with this sunburst: drummer Ed Wilcox's voice seemingly echoing through a huge canyon. He sounds desperately angry and yells these open-ended questions into the void. You can't understand them – you just get a feel for what's happening. At the end of the song, drums come rumbling in, and it all kind of fades out.

I think what happened next was Wilcox came down off the mountain and hit somebody in the head with a giant human bone he'd made a weapon out of. Then he ate that person's heart to gain the strength within. The problem is, he feels guilty for having done it. So he has these night fevers that won't go away, and they come out in these creepy, shamanic poems he screeches all over this record. The moral is that survival is ugly. I'm projecting a little bit, maybe, but there is no doubt this music was made from some kind of inner battle, and the shit is heavy and weird. That's good.

Temple of Bon Matin has been around for years now and has released music and toured extensively in total obscurity, at least partially for the reasons just described. The brainchild of Wilcox, the group is made up of a revolving door of varyingly able musicians, with the drummer assembling people for whatever he happens to be interested in playing at the time.

When I first encountered Temple, Wilcox was fusing his spirit-drum free rock to elements of jazz. Specifically it was a show at the long-dead Cocodrie, and Wilcox was on all fours whispering into these tiny hand cymbals arranged in a row on the floor of the stage. Over the years, the music has evolved into an earthier, more tribal thing, with increasing amounts of New Agey-ness creeping in, making for a sort of spiritual catharsis rock. Infidel goes even deeper into the jungle than the prayerful "Shining Path" and the "Mule Skinner" chant that opened Temple's 2003 release, Cabin in the Sky (Bulb).

The album has the usual TOBM confluence of 10 zillion types of music melded into a single, hurtling freak-out that, almost inexplicably, is as linked to straight rock forms as it is to free experimentation. Wilcox has always hidden this rock underpinning beneath mountains of no-fi recording techniques, diverting noise, and barely decipherable chanting, but never has he come this close to releasing such a traditional collection of "songs," with the vocals so upfront and intelligible. Still, because Wilcox's musical identity operates on some primal level, the stuff comes out as totally beyond fucked, and from any other band, it would not sound even close to conventional. There are other folks flirting with this sort of "New Age energy rock," but Wilcox takes it way beyond the parameters of what's been done before. Mike McGuirk San Francisco Bay Guardian


Ed Wilcox is constantly refining his art, his message. As a painter, he describes what you will find in his work with, “my love of circus, the unrepentant whim of the Cobra Group, the recycled resurrections of Eduardo Paolozzi, and most important to me, Persian and Mongul miniatures.”

Ed Wilcox approaches his musical efforts with the same level of thoughtfulness and joy in exploration. A self-declared ‘SPACE METAL’ band, there is much influence of Sun Ra (Philadelphia for crissakes!) as there is Judas Priest. Together with a crop of accomplished and loyal fellow travelers, the TEMPLE OF BON MATIN has ventured in and out of sight, but has continually remained true to Ed's single vision of pushing clattering jazz through the heaviness of hard rock. The result is always explosive and primal, always BON MATIN.

Infidel, TEMPLE’s sixth full length, is the record made when the pedal hits the metal. A full on blow out featuring Ed's powerful shouts and revving drum attack, amidst psychedelic-punk guitar blasts and blaring horns.




"Philadelphia improvising ensemble Temple of Bon Matin are based around Ed Wilcox, a powerhouse drummer who also sits in with saxophonist Arthur Doyle's occasional Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. His playing, Doyle says, sounds like "Milford Grays and Sunny Murray at the same time". If the wide open dirges of Temple of Bon Matin earlier release, We've Got The Biggest Engine, conjured the formless ghosts of saxophonist Albert Ayler and violinist Michel Sampson, their fifth album, Cabin in the Sky, sees them drop the jazz for a greasier rock sound. "Caledonia" (not the Cromagnon track but damn close all the same) rolls out the thunder of punk primitive barre chords and a steamrolling bass riff inside a thick soup of tape hiss and overloaded amps, Wilcox holds back on the multi-limbed flailing of old to keep the music anchored with tight mantric rhythms. His vocal, meanwhile, sounds as though it was recorded with a cardboard box over his head. Yet more satisfying is the album's incorporation of new hillbilly folk. By way of swearing allegiance, they kick off with a hollering, a capella "Muleskinner Blues". Their noveau hillbilly hybrid peaks with "Cockeye", which stations its basement noise upwind of a mutant Morris dance, while the whole group sounds like they're trying to draw down the moon." David Keenan Wire Issue 225 Nov. 2002

"Temple of Bon Matin is a primal free-rock outfit led by drummer-god Ed Wilcox, who lives in a haunted house in rural Pennsylvania,known as Cheery Acres. For eating money, he puts posters on the plywood dividers at construction sites. Cabin in the Sky was released in 2001, and the ancient rhythm and astonishing beauty you encounter as you make the trip. It's Hawkwind-meets-uh-jazz spirit plane make for this record to come out in that year or this one. I will fight anyone who disagrees with me." Mike McGuirk San Francisco Bay Guardian November 13,2002




"Possibly the biggest freak-out yet by the Bon Matin. Augmenting what was once pure guitar attack with synths, trumpet and violin gives this the added lift under the wings to get it floatin' and glidin' like a power boot and zero "g's". So much more is added to the cacophony that it acquires a fluid vicious feel - somewhat clear, yet hazy and thick. Horns toodlin' a drummer banging away like some three armed man on X, bells ringing out like shiny little bugs, and synths jabbering to each other in some kind of logorhytmic language. In fact, most of this is so dominated by minor activities going on around it that you can almost get lost. I miss some of the guitar bombast, but they make up for it in sheer effort and determination. Probably reaching orbit now." Les Scurry

"Without a doubt, the most cathartic; avant (read "out there") release on the label to date. Imagine Globe Unity Orchestra playing an overtime bout of extreme kick boxing with the rhythm section of Can and that'll get you going in the right direction. Hand painted covers done by none other than the dubious leader of ToBM himself, Mr. Ed Wilcox, Esq."



"If you've ever been treated to one of Bon Matin's cacophonous live shows, you know that this semi-improv group is more about sound than composition. Meandering cymbal hits, thuddy drums, and chaotic guitar parts are intertwined with Ed Wilcox's cathartic screams. Bullet Into Mesmer's Brain sounds like the recording of a tribal ritual which took place in the hull of a massive ship. The driving percussion reverberates like metallic thunder. The synthesizers and guitar play off one another rhythmically more than melodically. Wilcox seems to be performing an incantation, speaking in tongues and unleashing gut-wrenching yelps. Elliot Levin squawks and wails on his saxophone, lending the group an air of experimental jazz and downplay Bon Matin's apocalypse-metal-fervor. Though the players in this band have rotated over the years (with Wilcox being the only mainstay), the recent formation is arguably the best, with the mind altering mayhem turning into an explosion of instrumentation." Neil Gladstone Philadelphia City Paper



"Temple of Bon Matin are Philadelphia's link in the chain of vague, impolite, noise laden scuzzrock. Their songs are given to 10 to 15 minute journeys to multitudinous layers of noise frequencies, epileptic Keith Moon style drumming and spontaneous bass plodding." Dave Mcguran "Yakuza" magazine 3/4/93

"Recorded in 1993, was an exercise in lo-fi space rock, like MC5 and Hawkwind played by a band of drunk amateurs." Piero Scaruffi History of Rock Music 1999




Arthur Doyle's Conspiracy Nation